HC Deb 16 April 1914 vol 61 cc317-8
29. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the nature of a case where at a Board of Trade inquiry into a shipping casualty the Board of Trade would feel warranted in not opposing applications for costs or for a fixed sum towards costs by captains or officers made parties to such cases but exonerated from blame; whether the case of the master of the "Scotsdyke" has been brought to his notice where, though the questions put by the Board of Trade to the Court might have involved the suspension of his certificate and though the Court exonerated him from blame, the solicitor to the Board of Trade, at Glasgow, opposed the application made for the costs of the master, and this was upheld by the Court; and whether the Board of Trade have issued instructions to their legal representatives in the different seaports that they shall oppose similar applications for costs in all cases?


As the hon. Member was informed on 23rd March, I am afraid that it is not possible to give an undertaking that could be universally applicable in these cases. The case of the "Scots-dyke," however, appears to have been one in which the Board of Trade might properly have refrained from opposing an application for payment of a sum for costs. I regret that, by an oversight, the solicitor who represented the Board in this case was not instructed in this sense, and in the circumstances, while I cannot say what attitude the Court would have taken up if the matter had been left, without comment, to its discretion, the Board are prepared to consider an application from the master for payment of a sum towards his legal costs.